When you’ve put your heart and soul into creating a song or album, the next step is maximizing its release potential. A lot of this comes down to smart preparation and knowing exactly how your promotional plan will be executed. The more prepared you are for that big release, the more likely it is you’ll see streams, listeners, and followers come pouring in.
Of course, this is never as easy as it sounds, so our resources and tools have been designed to help you draw attention to you and your release, and hold onto that attention once you have it. Here are 12 tips to help you get ready for release day and stay on top after your release goes live.
1. Pitch your release for playlist consideration
We’ve heard many success stories from artists who’ve pitched a song to Spotify for Artists' playlist pitch tool. They’ve watched their streams and followers skyrocket after being featured on one of Spotify’s editorially curated playlists. Since launching playlist pitching in 2018, as of February 2020, we've playlisted 72,000 artists and playlisted 20% of pitches.
To increase your chances of landing one of these spots, pitch a song for playlist consideration at least seven days before its release date. When pitching a track, be sure to add key details about the song, like genre and mood, to improve the likelihood that it’ll land on the most suitable playlist. (Check our deep dive into the importance of adding song metadata.) Once pitched, our editorial team will see if it’s the right fit. Learn how to pitch your music here.
2. Refresh your Artist Profile
A first impression is everything—in fact, it can be just as powerful as the music itself. Think about what people are looking for when they see your artist profile and click on your name: They want to know who you are, where you came from, and what you’ve done so far. Start by making your artist image pop and consider uploading new promo shots or behind-the-scenes snaps to your image gallery. Make sure your bio is fresh and current and includes all of your social media handles.
3. Add a Canvas to your track
You can now add Canvas - a three to eight-second looping visual - to your tracks before release day. Head to the music tab in Spotify for Artists, click on ‘Upcoming’, then click the + next to the song you want to add Canvas to. Your Canvas will loop when listeners stream your song — and also appears on Instagram when fans share your track. Quality Canvases have shown to increase track streams, shares and saves on average, so it’s a great way to keep your fans engaged. Need help making Canvases? Check out SoundBetter.
4. Keep building your Spotify followers
These days connectivity is key, so take advantage of every portal you can. Your fans are eager to hear your new music first, so make sure you use your website and social media profiles to encourage your listeners to follow you on Spotify so they can hear your new release on their personalized Release Radar playlist. The way our playlist system works means that if you have 100,000 followers on Spotify, you’ll automatically be featured on 100,000 playlists the week of your release. Not bad, right?
5. Create playlists to engage your audience
Your listeners don’t just want to see you on a playlist, they want to know what sort of playlist you would listen to. A good way to stay active on Spotify and continually engage with your audience—especially when you’re in the midst of a busy release schedule—is to share a playlist of your own making. Express your tastes, share your obsessions, and maybe even slip in a song or two of your own to connect with your audience on a more intimate level.
6. Consider a Marquee or audio ad campaign
Dropping a new album or EP is a chance to engage audiences and draw them in on a deeper level. That’s why we launched Marquee—a commercial tool that helps listeners connect with new music and become its biggest fans. Marquee reaches listeners when and where it matters: During release week, it appears on the mobile Home screen as a full-screen, sponsored recommendation to Premium and Free users who’ve shown interest in your music and have the potential to listen more. After each campaign, we report how listeners engaged with the new release after seeing a Marquee. You could also consider creating audio ads to promote your music to listeners on Free users through Ad Studio.
You made it to release day and your new music is launched. But the work doesn’t stop here. Follow these steps once your release is live on Spotify.
7. Update your Artist Pick
One of the first things listeners see when visiting your profile page is your Artist Pick, so this is a great place to highlight that new single or album. Plus, it keeps your profile page looking fresh and up to date. Want to mix it up? You’ve got options. You can select a single, album, playlist, podcast, or one of your upcoming concerts as your Artist Pick. Learn out to add a Pick in this video. Pro tip: Add a bit of text to personalize your profile even more.
8. Share your new music on social media
We try to make sharing your music outside Spotify as easy as possible. On the Spotify app, just open the share menu when listening to your track or album, and you can easily share to Instagram Stories, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, or any messaging service. When you share to Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, on Snapchat through Spotify, your viewers will be able to simply swipe up to listen to content. While you’re at it, pop the link to your new track or album in your social bios.
Looking for easy visual assets to make your social posts pop? Create a custom Promo Card spotlighting your artist profile, a track, or album. You can download the Promo Card to upload to any platform — or use the generated short link, which will redirect to your selected content.
9. Track your real-time streams on the mobile app
Download the Spotify for Artists mobile app to monitor your real-time streams during the first seven days after a new release goes live on Spotify. Just click on the Stats tab at the bottom of your screen once you’re in the app. The count updates every 1.5 seconds, so you can track your numbers from the moment your release hits the service. These numbers are immensely valuable as you track a song or album’s impact over the first week.
10. Check back in a week to see your stats
A week after your release date is a perfect time to dive into the numbers. Check your Audience page on Spotify for Artists to see how your listen, stream, and follower counts were impacted by your release. If you have earlier releases, compare their performance on your Music page. All of these insights are there to help you tweak and optimize your release strategy going forward.
11. Take advantage of the many resources Spotify for Artists has for you
For the past couple years we’ve been busy building a database of articles and videos to help you in your career. In our video series The Game Plan, we dive into subjects including how to promote your work, how to read your data, and a mini-masterclass on releasing your music. Through our Co.Lab events, we’ve tapped experts from across the industry to weigh in on topics such as finding your audience and utilizing your creative network to amplify your release’s impact. From there, see what steps you can take to get your music in the ears of music supervisors, brands, and the press. Our resources are here to make sure you’re aware of every avenue available to make your music take flight.
12. Stay confident
Each of these steps is easy to implement and that’s intentional: The goal is to help you confidently prepare for a successful release day. But it’s important to remember—this is a marathon not a sprint. Just like with your art, building a career and making meaningful connections that convert your listeners to fans is a process that takes time. Stay steady with your creative vision, keep plugging away, and as Cyndi Lauper counsels: “You can’t really judge yourself: you just have to do it!”